87 fake Minecraft mods reached up to 990,000 Android users spotted on Google Play Store
Ad-displaying downloader disguised as Minecraft mods on Google Play Source: Eset

Malicious Apps hosted in Google play store is a never ending process, researchers from Zsclarer and ESET reported dozens of the app that contain aggressive adware strains.

These fake mods reached up to 990,000 installs and they were split into two categories

  • ad-displaying downloader – Android/TrojanDownloader.Agent.JL.
  • App to redirect the user to scam websites – Android/FakeApp.FG.

 Android/TrojanDownloader.Agent Functionality

These components only have necessary modules for installation, once it launched it seeks for admin permission.

If admission permission provided it will launch “INSTALLER MOD” to install additional modules “Block Launcher Pro” with several admin rights.

Upon installing it brings the user to dead end – a static Minecraft-themed screen with no clickable elements displayed on the screen,14 apps impersonating Minecraft mods with up to 80,000 installs has been discovered by ESET.

87 fake Minecraft mods reached up to 990,000 Android users spotted on Google Play Store
Device locked Add from ESET

Android/FakeApp.FG Functionality

It just uses the old trick, once it launched it shows the download button. If the user clicks the download button it will take them to scam websites showing a various range of advertisements.

Remaining 73 apps fall into this category and they have reached up to 910,000 installs before they reported.

87 fake Minecraft mods reached up to 990,000 Android users spotted on Google Play Store
Scam displayed upon clicking Download button Source: ESET

ZScaler reported 12 apps

Four out of the 12 applications that were accounted for this suspicious activity have been downloaded in between 10,000 to 50,000 times.

In order to hide from Google’s Antivirus system, these apps will not show any activity for first six hours.

These apps once installed will communicate with the predefined C&C server to get instructions. The C&C server issue commands to the app to display various advertisements on the device.

  • Full-screen ads
  • Open a link in mobile browser
  • Launch a YouTube video
  • Launch an already installed app on the phone
  • Create a new shortcut on the home screen for a given URL
ZScaler said “Most of the apps in this report are examples of source code piracy. The app with the package name com.ndk.taskkiller, for example, is a pirated version of com.batterysaver.taskkiller”.

Common Defences 

  • To stay secure use a reputable mobile security solution to detect and remove the threats.
  • Do download apps only from the official market.
  • Before downloading, check for the number of installs, ratings and, most importantly, the content of reviews.

How to clean the infection

  • If infected by the ad-displaying downloader, first deactivate administrator permission and then you can uninstall the application.
  • With Scam, it’s simple just you need to uninstall it.

 

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